In the fall of 2012, at 2:00am in the morning, the homeowner of a Berkeley craftsman house awoke to 8’ tall flames on the back deck of his house. Thanks in no small part to the rapid response of the Berkeley Fire Department, no one was injured in the fire and the majority of the house remained intact. The fire, which started from a smoldering ember lodged between the deck boards, destroyed the back deck, the kitchen, and bathrooms on both floors. Water and smoke damaged the rest of the house necessitating a full house repair and remodel.

The owner, an avid cook of Szechwan cuisine, wanted to make the best of a terrible situation and redesign the kitchen in the process of rebuilding. The owner’s desire was for a kitchen that would accommodate large house parties with an easy flow to the back deck.

DHM Architecture reorganized the first floor plan to eliminate an ill-positioned full bath on the ground floor to allow for easier connection between to the back yard from the living spaces. The second floor plan was rearranged to incorporate an additional full bath and a laundry counter. A design language of natural woods and metals was adopted to blend with the remaining natural wood work undamaged by smoke and fire. The roof structure of the addition continues trellis-like over the new deck, like a tree-house opening to the backyard.

Photography:  Muffy Kibbey

project information